CLEBURNE -- A tornado came to Cleburne in darkness one year ago. It was revealed only by lightning flashes, destruction left behind, and the fear in the voices of survivors.
The morning after the half-mile-wide twister hit, News 8 found 10-year-old Dillion Grisham standing outside his family’s shattered duplex across from Gerard Elementary School.
"I closed my eyes and prayed,” he told us then. When he opened them, his home was so torn up it would later have to be torn down.
Now 11, Dillion says he had a good year at his repaired school. But he relives that night over and over.
"Me and my mom, we were getting in the bathtub to hide. I was scared,” he said. “She wanted to go look at the hail. I said no, no, don't go."
He wonders if his plea saved her. She didn’t go.
If Dillion was praying for a miracle, Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain believes it worked.
"We call this the miracle tornado,” Mayor Cain said Thursday. “Six hundred houses damaged, 92 destroyed. Not one serious injury."
Most neighborhoods show no signs of what happened that night. There are still visible scars here and there. A few big houses out by the lake are under repair. Still uninhabitable. One still just a slab wiped clean because it couldn’t be fixed.
Dillion’s home was rebuilt and the family moved back in But then they had to move out again. He says he didn’t feel safe there anymore.
"He's in therapy,” said his grandmother Lisa Montgomery, the only mom he’s ever known.
"I've had to come get him at school because of storms. He gets such bad anxiety. He associates hail with tornadoes."
Despite his close call – make that because of it - Dillion says he wants to be a meteorologist so he can warn people He has multiple weather apps on his cell phone.
Storms might make him nervous now, but he’s ready.